Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin the body needs to function. We get this vitamin mainly from exposure to sunlight but it can also be found in a few select foods like fish and eggs. Vitamin D is a key factor in keeping your bones and muscles healthy because it regulates calcium levels. Your vitamin D levels can have a major impact on your energy levels.
In light of the recent coronavirus outbreak, scientists have found that getting a good source of vitamin D, specifically through a supplement, could actually save your life.
Research has shown that vitamin D supports the immune system through pathways that are important in fighting COVID 19. A study done by Trinity College Dublin showed the link between the mortality rate of COVID 19 and vitamin D levels. The study showed that countries like Spain and Northern Italy that were exposed to more sunlight due to their low latitude actually had higher rates of vitamin D deficiency and had the highest infection and death rates in Europe. The study also showed that countries like Norway, Finland, and Sweden were exposed to less sunlight due to their northern latitude yet they had higher vitamin D levels and less COVID-19 infection and death rates. This is thanks to supplementation and fortification of foods with vitamin D. In England, Scotland, and Wales, public health officials now recommend that all adults take at least 400 IU of vitamin D per day so it may be worthwhile to look into a vitamin D supplement.
On a less extreme note, taking vitamin D supplements or eating foods high in vitamin D may be important for people staying indoors during lockdown as well. Being indoors all day could potentially be preventing people from getting enough sunlight and therefore not enough vitamin D. This is especially true for the elderly and people with darker colored skin whose melanin makes it more difficult to absorb sunlight.
Photo: Matt Ramjeet